Spinning a Web – Part 1/2

Is Julia Lovell spinning a web to deceive about the First Opium War (1839 to 1842)?

ACN Newswire posted a press release recently announcing the pending publication of The Opium War by Julia Lovell (available September 2011).

Lovell’s reason for writing this book was to “see whether things really were as black and white as the Chinese textbooks seem to say it was.”

“Seem!” Doesn’t Lovell know what the Chinese textbooks say?

If you check to see who runs ACN Newswire, you will discover it is an associate company of Japan Corporation News K.K., which may mean nothing or everything when it comes to a nonfiction book that aims to make the Chinese look as guilty as the British regarding the Opium Wars.

Julia Lovell says, “It wasn’t a clear-cut story of innocent Chinese on the one hand, and the British invaders on the other.”


British author Julia Lovell talks about writing her book.

“But even if you look at the time, what’s going on during the time of the war itself, the Chinese are supplying the British, they are navigating for the British, they are spying for the British, for a fee of course, so there is an extraordinary pragmatism,” Lovell says in the ACN Newswire press release. “They don’t necessarily feel the loyalty to the idea of the Chinese imperial centre or the emperor or anything else, they will go with where the smart money is. And the British couldn’t have won the war without this assistance.”

There are two key phrases of Lovell’s proving her theory is more complicated than she makes it sound. The first phrase says, “for a fee of course” and the second, “They didn’t necessarily feel loyalty to the idea of the Chinese imperial center or the emperor or anything else…”

In fact, little is “clear-cut” about the Opium Wars. Since the Qing Dynasty was not ruled by the Han Chinese (which represents 90% of the population), but was ruled by a brutal Manchu minority, many Han Chinese probably felt little or no loyalty to the Qing emperor.

Continued on August 16, 2011 in Spinning a Web – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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6 Responses to Spinning a Web – Part 1/2

  1. Alessandro says:

    Whatever things she can put in her book, one thing (the main) doesn’t change: the English knowingly and scientifically exported drug in China, forcing in the end the Qing government to let them, turning an enormous number of people into drug addicts just to try to address the enormous trade deficit they, at that time, had with China. I think this is one of the key point about why this conflicts are particularly odious.

    • Alessandro,

      Agreed. The British Empire was no better than today’s drug cartels smuggling drugs into the United States or Europe. The difference is that in the 19th century, the drug trade was supported by a major world power and now that the tide has turned those same countries are fighting drugs coming into their countries.

  2. Xiaohu Liu says:

    What is she going to insist on? That there were Chinese collaborators so it was China’s fault? I’d be interested to hear a book review when it comes and if you decide to read it.

    • The link to Lovell’s book (embedded in this post) takes you to the Amazon UK site where there are some interesting blurbs on the book. I’ve attempted finding the book on the Amazon US site, but it is difficult to find any information on the book (what I found was sketchy), which may mean she is accurate and US publishers are not interested in promoting a book that may make the West look bad.

      After all, they must keep scrubbing that image.

      • Xiaohu Liu says:

        Please do update us if you find the thesis of her book or what her specific arguments are.

        I am really scratching my head on this one. My exposure to this war was from a lecture on economic history and what the British did seemed very cynical and made a lot economically for them. I thought that was that.

        I hope I was not secretly indoctrinated!

      • Xiaohu,

        The victors usually write history and the truth is whatever anyone wants to believe. For those that want to learn the reality of a situation or event (its best to avoid using the word truth) takes digging and research and to always question what anyone writes or says on any topic.

        The struggle for the hearts, minds and loyalty of people to build a mob large enough to have political influence never ends and all factions have political/religious agendas to achieve, which means spinning webs to deceive.

        One of my favorite sayings is from Abraham Lincoln, “You can fool most of the people some of the time and some of the people most of the time but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.”

        Unfortunately, few people dig for facts that point in the right direction because they either do not have the literacy skills or are too lazy in addition to having no interest in finding out if personal beliefs are wrong. There is also a risk to stand up and say that the mob is wrong because the mob often does not care if it is wrong and will destroy the one voice that dares to disagree.

        Look what happened to the Western person that says the world was not flat and the earth revolved around the sun instead of the entire universe revolving around the earth. The mob ruined his life. Centuries later the truth comes out but he was dead by then. What good is being vindicated when you are dead and cannot enjoy the satisfaction?

        And this explains why I dig for facts where most don’t and why I decided to discover which countries had the best record for rail safety after China had that high-speed rail crash last month and discovered that the US had the worst safety record and China one of the safest on earth, while the lazy Western mob that doesn’t want to know the facts was crucifying China over one rail crash in seven months while the US had eight in the same time span.

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